Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Ravenala madagascariensis
Sonn., Strelitziaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  yes

Risk assessment results:  Evaluate, score: 5 (Go to the risk assessment)

Common name(s): [more details]

English: traveler's palm, traveler's tree

French: arbre à voyageur, ravenale

Habit:  tree

Description:  "Palm-like tree, clump forming, to 10 m high or more, developing a distinct trunk with age.  Leaves simple, alternate, 20 to 30, two-ranked, forming a fan-like crown, blade paddle-shaped, 1.5-3 x 0.6-1 m on a petiole as long or longer than the blade, surface gray-green with the margins often split and like that of the similar banana (Musa spp.) leaf.  Flowers intermittently during the year; flowers several, borne within a single cluster of 7 to 12 large, green, folded, distichous, boat-shaped bracts to 50 cm long.  Corolla of five free subequal tepals 15-24 cm long and one shorter tepal, white to yellowish.  Fruit an oblong woody capsule to 8 cm long, containing many seeds covered with blue arils"  (Whistler, 2000; p. 394-395).

"[T]his striking plant is a simple-stemmed tree with a fan-shaped cluster of leaves at its tip, the trunk to 10 m tall, the leaf sheaths containing water partly from rain and partly excreted by the plant.  The leaves have blades as large as 3 x 1 m and petioles to 3 m long.  The perianth segments are whitish and the seeds have conspicuous blue arils"  (Smith, 1979; p. 180).

Habitat/ecology:  "Forests, freshwater wetlands, marshes, mountain slopes.  A native of secondary forests and riparian habitats, this tree is invasive because it spreads rapidly and foirms dense stands that shade out all other plant species with the large leaves.  It can become the dominant species in later stage forest succession.  The species is variable in size and shape, depending on the habit where it grows.  It is an upright tree in forests and more a shrub in open sites.  Little is known on the ecology of this species as an invader"  (Weber, 2003; p. 355).

"Ravenala madagascariensis is a big problem in Mauritius, especially on mid-altitude (3-600 m) south and west facing slopes in and around the Black River Gorges National Park.  In large areas it almost forms monocultures, with little or no native vegetation left" (Dennis Hansen, communication to Aliens listserver).

Propagation:  Seed.  "I heard somewhere that the reason it is so widespread in Mauritius is because the fruit bat Pteropus niger eats the fruits, and thus spreads the seeds " but the Ravenalas I looked at all had extremely hard fruits that I would think impossible for the Pteropus' to eat.  It seems more plausible that the role the fruit bats play in the reproduction is in the pollination" (Dennis Hansen, communication to Aliens listserver).  The tree can spread vegetatively by suckering from the roots  (Weber, 2003; p. 355).

Native range:  Madagascar

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Aitutaki Atoll introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. Field notes.)
Cook Islands
Southern Cook Islands
Rarotonga Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. Field notes.)
Ecuador (Galápagos Islands)
Santa Cruz Group
Santa Cruz Island introduced
cultivated
Charles Darwin Foundation (2008)
Federated States of Micronesia
Pohnpei Islands
Pohnpei Island introduced
cultivated
Herrera, Katherine/Lorence, David H./Flynn, Timothy/Balick, Michael J. (2010) (p. 62)
Fiji
Fiji Islands
Viti Levu Island introduced
cultivated
Smith, Albert C. (1979) (p. 180)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island   Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 79)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Moorea Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island   Fosberg, F. R. (1997) (p. 79)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Raiatea (Havai) Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Welsh, S. L. (1998) (pp. 376-377)
French Polynesia
Society Islands
Tahiti Island introduced
cultivated
Florence, J./Chevillotte, H./Ollier, C./Meyer, J.-Y. (2013)
Cultivée
Guam
Guam Island
Guam Island introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (pp. 110-111)
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawaiian Islands introduced
cultivated
Staples, George W./Herbst, Derral/Imada, Clyde T. (2000) (p. 30)
Japan (offshore islands)
Ogasawara (Bonin) Islands
Bonin (Ogasawara) Islands introduced
Kato, Hidetoshi (2007)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (pp. 110-111)
Marshall Islands
Ralik Chain
Kwajalein (Kuwajleen) Atoll introduced
Whistler, W. A./Steele, O. (1999) (p. 105)
Not seen on this survey and may no longer be present.
New Caledonia
New Caledonia Archipelago
Île Grande Terre introduced
cultivated
MacKee, H. S. (1994) (p. 104)
Voucher cited: MacKee 38074
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Sykes, W. R. (1970) (p. 257)
Not seen in 2000 or 2004. Voucher cited CHR 169962.
Niue
Niue
Niue Island introduced
cultivated
Yuncker, T. G. (1943) (p. 39)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Babeldaob Island cultivated
Raulerson, L./Rinehart, A. F./Falanruw, M. C. (1996) (p. 18)
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Koror (Oreor) Island introduced
cultivated
Lorence, David H./Flynn, Tim (2010) (p. 18)
Specimen at National Museum.
Palau
Palau (Belau ) (main island group)
Palau Islands (main island group) introduced
Fosberg, F. R./Sachet, Marie-Hélène/Oliver, Royce (1987) (pp. 110-111)
Philippines
Philippine Islands
Philippine Islands introduced
cultivated
Merrill, Elmer D. (1925) (p. 228)
Planted for ornamental purposes.
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island introduced
cultivated
Space, James C./Flynn, Tim (2002) (p. Field notes.)
Samoa
Western Samoa Islands
Upolu Island   Bishop Museum (Honolulu) (1979) (voucher ID: BISH 439368)
Taxon name on voucher: Ravenala madagascariensis Sonn.
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands
Solomon Islands introduced
cultivated
Hancock, I. R./Henderson, C. P. (1988) (p. 105)
Wallis and Futuna
Wallis and Futuna (Horne) Islands
Wallis (‘Uvea) Island introduced
cultivated
Meyer, Jean-Yves (2007) (p. 29)
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
China
China
Hong Kong introduced
cultivated
Wu, Te-lin (2001) (p. 351)
Ornamental.
Singapore
Singapore
Singapore (Republic of) introduced
cultivated
Chong, Kwek Yan/Tan, Hugh T. W./Corlett, Richard T. (2009) (p. 74)
Cultivated only
Indian Ocean
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Australia (Indian Ocean offshore islands)
Christmas Island Group
Christmas Island introduced
cultivated
Swarbrick, J. T. (1997) (p. 125)
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Lavergne, Christophe (2006)
"Cultivé/envahissant"
La Réunion (France)
La Réunion Island
La Réunion Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Lavergne, C. (2004) (p. 5)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
Cronk, Q. C. B./Fuller, J. L. (2001)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
Lorence, D./Sussman, R. W. (1986) (pp. 147-162)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
Lorence, D./Sussman, R. W. (1988) (pp. 187-204)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Mauritius Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Mauremootoo, J. (2004) (p. 6)
Mauritius
Mautitius Islands (Mauritius and Rodrigues)
Rodrigues Island introduced
invasive
Kueffer, C./Mauremootoo, J. (2004) (p. 6)
French Territory of Mayotte
Mayotte Islands
Mayotte Island introduced
cultivated
Comité français de l'Union Internationale pour la Conservation de la Nature en France (2013)

Control: 

Physical:  Hand pull or dig out seedlings and young plants.

Chemical:  Cut large trees and treat the stumps with herbicide (Weber, 2003; p. 355).


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This page was created on 1 JAN 1999 and was last updated on 11 FEB 2013.